Derek Chin

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MovieTowne owner Derek Chin believes COVID-19 fatigue and the need to exhale may have been the cause behind Saturday’s crowds flocking to the venue despite the latest appeal by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for the nation to remain vigilant in following public health protocols, including avoiding large crowd congregations.

Notwithstanding the release of Saturday’s blockbuster Godzilla versus King Kong as the main attraction, Chin said he believed people, particularly children, just needed a place to exhale.

Responding to Guardian Media’s question on whether parents should have removed their children from the venue once they noticed there was a breach of the COVID-19 protocols, Chin wrote in a WhatsApp message: “Many use MT as the babysitter for their kids. We try to keep a clean secure and safe environment. Check and you can see that! It’s also difficult for ‘tired’ parents. Bringing up kids into today’s world is no mean feat. The children need places to exhale too. We try to do our part as responsible people.”

However, he assured it was a phenomenon that happened from time to time and was not an everyday occurrence.

Speaking on the monster-sized gathering, which forced the intervention of the TTPS to disperse the crowds, Chin said other than one small incident, the evening was well monitored and managed.

“The kids had a good time and followed the instructions according to the police and security,” he said.

He said the police’s involvement on Saturday was not new, as MovieTowne officials often worked with the police. He, however, thanked Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and his team for their excellent communication on Saturday.

“We had a similar occurrence last year and the police do come and to assist us. No major incidents have occurred. Once the people follow the protocols and behave, they are welcomed.”

He said on Saturday, the majority of the children wore masks and adhered to non-grouping.

Chin assured, however, that MovieTowne has and continues to operate within the COVID-19 protocols.

“We are limited by 50 per cent capacity and limited opening times. All tickets are computerised, so limits are accurately set. Plus because of the limits per screen, we opened most screens showing that popular movie to dilute the audiences in each auditorium,” he explained.